This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

Jim Kunstler's 2014 Forecast - Burning Down The House

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by James H. Kunstler of,

Many of us in the Long Emergency crowd and like-minded brother-and-sisterhoods remain perplexed by the amazing stasis in our national life, despite the gathering tsunami of forces arrayed to rock our economy, our culture, and our politics. Nothing has yielded to these forces already in motion, so far. Nothing changes, nothing gives, yet. It’s like being buried alive in Jell-O. It’s embarrassing to appear so out-of-tune with the consensus, but we persevere like good soldiers in a just war.

Paper and digital markets levitate, central banks pull out all the stops of their magical reality-tweaking machine to manipulate everything, accounting fraud pervades public and private enterprise, everything is mis-priced, all official statistics are lies of one kind or another, the regulating authorities sit on their hands, lost in raptures of online pornography (or dreams of future employment at Goldman Sachs), the news media sprinkles wishful-thinking propaganda about a mythical “recovery” and the “shale gas miracle” on a credulous public desperate to believe, the routine swindles of medicine get more cruel and blatant each month, a tiny cohort of financial vampire squids suck in all the nominal wealth of society, and everybody else is left whirling down the drain of posterity in a vortex of diminishing returns and scuttled expectations.

Life in the USA is like living in a broken-down, cob-jobbed, vermin-infested house that needs to be gutted, disinfected, and rebuilt — with the hope that it might come out of the restoration process retaining the better qualities of our heritage. Some of us are anxious to get on with the job, to expel all the rats, bats, bedbugs, roaches, and lice, tear out the stinking shag carpet and the moldy sheet-rock, rip off the crappy plastic siding, and start rebuilding along lines that are consistent with the demands of the future — namely, the reality of capital and material resource scarcity. But it has been apparent for a while that the current owners of the house would prefer to let it fall down, or burn down rather than renovate.

Some of us now take that outcome for granted and are left to speculate on how it will play out. These issues were the subjects of my recent non-fiction books, The Long Emergency and Too Much Magic (as well as excellent similar books by Richard Heinberg, John Michael Greer, Dmitry Orlov, and others). They describe the conditions at the end of the cheap energy techno-industrial phase of history and they laid out a conjectural sequence of outcomes that might be stated in shorthand as collapse and re-set. I think the delay in the onset of epochal change can be explained pretty simply. As the peak oil story gained traction around 2005, and was followed (as predicted) by a financial crisis, the established order fought back for its survival, utilizing its remaining dwindling capital and the tremendous inertia of its own gigantic scale, to give the appearance of vitality at all costs.

At the heart of the matter was (and continues to be) the relationship between energy and economic growth. Without increasing supplies of cheap energy, economic growth — as we have known it for a couple of centuries — does not happen anymore. At the center of the economic growth question is credit. Without continued growth, credit can’t be repaid, and new credit cannot be issued honestly — that is, with reasonable assurance of repayment — making it worthless. So, old debt goes bad and the new debt is generated knowing that it is worthless. To complicate matters, the new worthless debt is issued to pay the interest on the old debt, to maintain the pretense that it is not going bad. And then all kinds of dishonest side rackets are run around this central credit racket — shadow banking, “innovative” securities (i.e. new kinds of frauds and swindles, CDOs CDSs, etc.), flash trading, insider flimflams, pump-and-dumps, naked shorts, etc. These games give the impression of an economy that seems to work. But the reported “growth” is phony, a concoction of overcooked statistics and wishful thinking. And the net effect moves the society as a whole in the direction of more destructive ultimate failure.

Now, a number of stories have been employed lately to keep all these rackets going — or, at least, keep up the morale of the swindled masses. They issue from the corporations, government agencies, and a lazy, wishful media. Their purpose is to prop up the lie that the dying economy of yesteryear is alive and well, and can continue “normal” operation indefinitely. Here are the favorites of the past year:

  • Shale oil and gas amount to an “energy renaissance” that will keep supplies of affordable fossil fuels flowing indefinitely, will make us “energy independent,” and will make us “a bigger producer than Saudi Arabia.” This is all mendacious bullshit with a wishful thinking cherry on top. Here’s how shale oil is different from conventional oil:

PP Oil 2

  • A “manufacturing renaissance” is underway in the US, especially in the “central corridor” running from Texas north to Minnesota. That hoopla is all about a few chemical plants and fertilizer factories that have reopened to take advantage of cheaper natural gas. Note, the shale gas story is much like the shale oil story in terms of drilling and production. The depletion rates are quick and epic. In a very few years, shale gas won’t be cheap anymore. Otherwise, current talk of new manufacturing for hard goods is all about robots. How many Americans will be employed in these factories? And what about the existing manufacturing over-capacity everywhere else in the world? Are we making enough sneakers and Justin Beiber dolls? File under complete fucking nonsense.
  • The USA is “the cleanest shirt in the laundry basket,” “the best house in a bad neighborhood,” the safest harbor for international “liquidity,” making it a sure bet that both the equity and bond markets will continue to ratchet up as money seeking lower risk floods in to the Dow and S & P from other countries with dodgier economies and sicker banks. In a currency war, with all nations competitively depreciating their currencies, gaming interest rates, manipulating markets, falsely reporting numbers, hiding liabilities, backstopping bad banks, and failing to regulate banking crime, there are no safe harbors. The USA can pretend to be for a while and then that illusion will pop, along with the “asset” bubbles that inspire it.
  • The USA is enjoying huge gains from fantastic new “efficiencies of technological innovation.” The truth is not so dazzling. Computer technology, produces diminishing returns and unanticipated consequences. The server farms are huge energy sinks. Online shopping corrodes the resilience of commercial networks when only a few giant companies remain standing; and so on. Problems like these recall the central collapse theory of Joseph Tainter which states that heaping additional complexity on dysfunctional hyper-complex societies tends to induce their collapse. Hence, my insistence that downscaling, simplifying, re-localizing and re-setting the systems we depend on are imperative to keep the project of civilization going. That is, if you prefer civilization to its known alternatives.

Notice that all of these stories want to put over the general impression that the status quo is alive and well. They’re based on the dumb idea that the stock markets are a proxy for the economy, so if the Standard & Poor’s 500 keeps on going up, it’s all good. The master wish running through the American zeitgeist these days is that we might be able to keep driving to Wal-Mart forever.

The truth is that we still have a huge, deadly energy problem. Shale oil is not cheap oil, and it will stop seeming abundant soon. If the price of oil goes much above $100 a barrel, which you’d think would be great for the oil companies, it will crash demand for oil. If it crashes demand, the price will go down, hurting the profitability of the shale oil companies. It’s quite a predicament. Right now, in the $90-100-a-barrel range, it’s just slowly bleeding the economy while barely allowing the shale oil producers to keep up all the drilling. Two-thirds of all the dollars invested (more than $120 billion a year) goes just to keep production levels flat. Blogger Mark Anthony summarized it nicely:

…the shale oil and gas developers tend to use unreliable production models to project unrealistically high EURs (Estimated Ultimate Recovery) of their shale wells. They then use the over-estimated EURs to under-calculate the amortization costs of the capital spending, in order to report “profits”, despite of the fact that they have to keep borrowing more money to keep drilling new wells, and that capital spending routinely out paces revenue stream by several times… shale oil and gas producers tend to over-exaggerate productivity of their wells, under-estimate the well declines…in order to pitch their investment case to banks and investors, so they can keep borrowing more money to keep drilling shale wells.

As stated in the intro, these perversities reverberate in the investment sector. Non-cheap oil upsets the mechanisms of capital formation — financial growth is stymied — in a way that ultimately affects the financing of oil production itself. Old credit cannot be repaid, scaring off new credit (because it is even more unlikely to be repaid). At ZIRP interest, nobody saves. The capital pools dry up. So the Federal Reserve has to issue ersatz credit dollars on its computers. That credit will remain stillborn and mummified in depository institutions afraid of lending it to the likes of sharpies and hypesters in the shale gas industry.

But real, functioning capital (credit that can be paid back) is vanishing, and the coming scarcity of real capital makes it much more difficult to keep the stupendous number of rigs busy drilling and fracking new shale oil wells, which you have to do incessantly to keep production up, and as the investment in new drilling declines, and the “sweet spots” yield to the less-sweet spots or the not-sweet-at-all spots… then the Ponzis of shale oil and shale gas, too will be unmasked as the jive endeavors they are. And when people stop believing these cockamamie stories, the truth will dawn on them that we are in a predicament where further growth and wealth cannot be generated and the economy is actually in the early stages of a permanent contraction, and that will trigger an unholy host of nasty consequences proceeding from the loss of faith in these fairy tales, going so far as the meltdown of the banking system, social turmoil, and political upheaval.

The bottom line is that the “shale revolution” will be short-lived. 2014 may be the peak production year in the Bakken play of North Dakota. Eagle Ford in Texas is a little younger and may lag Bakken by a couple of years. If Federal Reserve policies create more disorder in the banking system this year, investment for shale will dry up, new drilling will nosedive, and shale oil production will go down substantially. Meanwhile. conventional oil production in the USA continues to decline remorselessly.

The End of Fed Cred

It must be scary to be a Federal Reserve governor. You have to pretend that you know what you’re doing when, in fact, Fed policy appears completely divorced from any sense of consequence, or cause-and-effect, or reality — and if it turns out you’re not so smart, and your policies and interventions undermine true economic resilience, then the scuttling of the most powerful civilization in the history of the world might be your fault — even if you went to Andover and wear tortoise-shell glasses that make you appear to be smart.

The Fed painted itself into a corner the last few years by making Quantitative Easing a permanent feature of the financial landscape. QE backstops everything now. Tragically, additional backdoor backstopping extends beyond the QE official figures (as of December 2013) of $85 billion a month. American money (or credit) is being shoveled into anything and everything, including foreign banks and probably foreign treasuries. It’s just another facet of the prevailing pervasive dishonesty infecting the system that we have no idea, really, how much money is being shoveled and sprinkled around. Anything goes and nothing matters. However, since there is an official consensus that you can’t keep QE money-pumping up forever, the Fed officially made a big show of seeking to begin ending it. So in the Spring of 2013 they announced their intention to “taper” their purchases of US Treasury paper and mortgage paper, possibly in the fall.

Well, it turned out they didn’t or couldn’t taper. As the fall equinox approached, with everyone keenly anticipating the first dose of taper, the equity markets wobbled and the interest rate on the 10-year treasury — the index for mortgage loans and car loans — climbed to 3.00 percent from its May low of 1.63 — well over 100 basis points — and the Fed chickened out. No September taper. Fake out. So, the markets relaxed, the interest rate on the 10-year went back down, and the equity markets resumed their grand ramp into the Christmas climax. However, the Fed’s credibility took a hit, especially after all their confabulating bullshit “forward guidance” in the spring and summer when they couldn’t get their taper story straight. And in the meantime, the Larry-Summers-for-Fed-Chair float unfloated, and Janet Yellen was officially picked to succeed Ben Bernanke, with her reputation as an extreme easy money softie (more QE, more ZIRP), and a bunch of hearings were staged to make the Bernanke-Yellen transition look more reassuring.

And then on December 18, outgoing chair Bernanke announced, with much fanfare, that the taper would happen after all, early in the first quarter of 2014 ­— after he is safely out of his office in the Eccles building and back in his bomb shelter on the Princeton campus. The Fed meant it this time, the public was given to understand.

The only catch here, as I write, after the latest taper announcement, is that interest on the 10-year treasury note has crept stealthily back up over 3 percent. Wuh-oh. Not a good sign, since it means more expensive mortgages and car loans, which happen to represent the two things that the current economy relies on to appear “normal.” (House sales and car sales = normal in a suburban sprawl economy.)

I think the truth is the Fed just did too darn much QE and ZIRP and they waited way too long to cut it out, and now they can’t end it without scuttling both the stock and bond markets. But they can’t really go forward with the taper, either. A rock and a hard place. So, my guess is that they’ll pretend to taper in March, and then they’ll just as quickly un-taper. Note the curious report out of the American Enterprise Institute ten days ago by John H. Makin saying that the Fed’s actual purchase of debt paper amounted to an average $94 billion a month through the year 2013, not $85 billion. Which would pretty much negate the proposed taper of $5 billion + $5 billion (Treasury paper + Mortgage paper).

And in so faking and so doing they may succeed in completely destroying the credibility of the Federal Reserve. When that happens, capital will be disappearing so efficiently that the USA will find itself in a compressive deflationary spiral — because that’s what happens when faith in the authority behind credit is destroyed, and new loans to cover the interest on old loans are no longer offered in the non-government banking system, and old loans can’t be serviced. At which point the Federal Reserve freaks out and announces new extra-special QE way above the former 2013 level of $85 billion a month, and the government chips in with currency controls. And that sets in motion the awful prospect of the dreaded “crack-up boom” into extraordinary inflation, when dollars turn into hot potatoes and people can’t get rid of them fast enough. Well, is that going to happen this year? It depends on how spooked the Fed gets. In any case, there is a difference between high inflation and hyper-inflation. High inflation is bad enough to provoke socio-political convulsion. I don’t really see how the Fed gets around this March taper bid without falling into the trap I’ve just outlined. It wouldn’t be a pretty situation for poor Ms. Janet Yellen, but nobody forced her to take the job, and she’s had the look all along of a chump, the perfect sucker to be left holding a big honking bag of flop.

We’re long overdue for a return to realistic pricing in all markets. The Government and its handmaiden, the Fed, have tweaked the machinery so strenuously for so long that these efforts have entered the wilderness of diminishing returns. Instead of propping up the markets, all they can accomplish now is further erosion of the credibility of the equity markets and the Fed itself — and that bodes darkly for a money system that is essentially run on faith. I think the indexes have topped. The “margin” (money borrowed to buy stock) in the system is at dangerous, historically unprecedented highs. There may be one final reach upward in the first quarter. Then the equities crater, if not sooner. I still think the Dow and S &P could oversell by 90 percent of their value if the falsehoods of the post-2008  interventions stopped working their hoodoo on the collective wishful consciousness.

The worldwide rise in interest rates holds every possibility for igniting a shitstorm in interest rate swaps and upsetting the whole apple-cart of shadow banking and derivatives. That would be a bullet in the head to the TBTF banks, and would therefore lead to a worldwide crisis. In that event, the eventual winners would be the largest holders of gold, who could claim to offer the world a trustworthy gold-backed currency, especially for transactions in vital resources like oil. That would, of course, be China. The process would be awfully disorderly and fraught with political animus. Given the fact that China’s own balance sheet is hopelessly non-transparent and part-and-parcel of a dishonest crony banking system, China would have to use some powerful smoke-and-mirrors to assume that kind of dominant authority. But in the end, it comes down to who has the real goods, and who screwed up (the USA, Europe, Japan) and China, for all its faults and perversities, has the gold.

The wholesale transfer of gold tonnage from the West to the East was one of the salient events of 2013. There were lots of conspiracy theories as to what drove the price of gold down by 28 percent. I do think the painful move was partly a cyclical correction following the decade-long run up to $1900 an ounce. Within that cyclical correction, there was a lot of room for the so-called “bullion banks” to pound the gold and silver prices down with their shorting orgy. Numerous times the past year, somebody had laid a fat finger on the “sell” key, like, at four o’clock in the morning New York time when no traders were in their offices, and the record of those weird transactions is plain to see in the daily charts. My own theory is that an effort was made — in effect, a policy — to suppress the gold price via collusion between the Fed, the US Treasury, the bullion banks, and China, as a way to allow China to accumulate gold to offset the anticipated loss of value in the US Treasury paper held by them, throwing China a big golden bone, so to speak — in other words, to keep China from getting hugely pissed off. The gold crash had the happy effect for the US Treasury of making the dollar appear strong at a time when many other nations were getting sick of US dollar domination, especially in the oil markets, and were threatening to instigate a new currency regime by hook or by crook. Throwing China the golden bone is also consistent with the USA’s official position that gold is a meaningless barbaric relic where national currencies are concerned, and therefore nobody but the barbaric yellow hordes of Asia would care about it.

Other nations don’t feel that way. Russia and Switzerland have been accumulating gold like crazy at bargain prices this year. Last year, Germany requested its sovereign gold cache (300 tons) to be returned from the vaults in America, where it was stored through all the decades of the cold war, safe from the reach of the Soviets. But American officials told the Germans it would take seven years to accomplish the return. Seven years ! ! ! WTF? Is there a shortage of banana boats? The sentiment in goldville is that the USA long ago “leased” or sold off or rehypothecated or lost that gold. Anyway, Germany’s 300 tons was a small fraction of the 6,700 tons supposedly held in the Fed’s vaults. Who knows? No auditors have been allowed into the Fed vaults to actually see what’s up with the collateral. This in and of itself ought to make the prudent nervous.

I think we’re near the end of these reindeer games with gold, largely because so many vaults in the West have been emptied. That places constraints on further shenanigans in the paper gold (and silver) markets. In an environment where both the destructive forces of deflation and inflation can be unleashed in sequence, uncertainty is the greatest motivator, trumping the usual greed and fear seen in markets that can be fairly measured against stable currencies. In 2014, the public has become aware of the bank “bail-in” phenomenon which, along with rehypothication schemes, just amounts to the seizure of customer and client accounts — a really new wrinkle in contemporary banking relations. Nobody knows if it’s safe to park cash money anywhere except inside the mattress. The precedent set in Cyprus, and the MF Global affair, and other confiscation events, would tend to support an interest in precious metals held outside the institutional framework. Uncertainty rules.


I get a lot of email on the subject of Bitcoin. Here’s how I feel about it.
It’s an even more abstract form of “money” than fiat currencies or securities based on fiat currencies. Do we need more abstraction in our economic lives? I don’t think so. I believe the trend will be toward what is real. For the moment, Bitcoin seems to be enjoying some success as it beats back successive crashes. I’m not very comfortable with the idea of investing in an algorithm. I don’t see how it is impervious to government hacking. In fact, I’d bet that somewhere in the DOD or the NSA or the CIA right now some nerd is working on that. Bitcoin is provoking imitators, other new computer “currencies.” Why would Bitcoin necessarily enjoy dominance? And how many competing algorithmic currencies can the world stand? Wouldn’t that defeat the whole purpose of an alternative “go to” currency? All I can say is that I’m not buying Bitcoins.

Will ObamaCare crash and burn. It’s not doing very well so far. In fact, it’s a poster-child for Murphy’s Law (Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong). I suppose the primary question is whether they can enroll enough healthy young people to correct the actuarial nightmare that health insurance has become. That’s not looking so good either now. But really, how can anyone trust a law that was written by the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry? And how can it be repealed when so many individuals, groups, companies, have already lost their pre-ObamaCare policies? What is there to go back to? Therefore, I’d have to predict turmoil in the health care system for 2014. The failure to resolve the inadequacies of ObamaCare also may be a prime symptom of the increasing impotence of the federal government to accomplish anything. That failure would prompt an even faster downscaling of governance as states, counties, communities, and individuals realize that they are on their own.

Sorry to skip around, but a few stray words about the state of American culture. Outside the capitals of the “one percent” — Manhattan, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, etc. — American material culture is in spectacular disrepair. Car culture and chain store tyranny have destroyed the physical fabric of our communities and wrecked social relations. These days, a successful Main Street is one that has a wig shop and a check-cashing office. It is sickening to see what we have become. Our popular entertainments are just what you would design to produce a programmed population of criminals and sex offenders. The spectacle of the way our people look —overfed, tattooed, pierced, clothed in the raiment of clowns — suggests an end-of-empire zeitgeist more disturbing than a Fellini movie. The fact is, it simply mirrors the way we act, our gross, barbaric collective demeanor. A walk down any airport concourse makes the Barnum & Bailey freak shows of yore look quaint. In short, the rot throughout our national life is so conspicuous that a fair assessment would be that we are a wicked people who deserve to be punished.

Elsewhere in the World

Globalism, in the Tom Friedman euphoric sense, is unwinding. Currency wars are wearing down the players, conflicts and tensions are breaking out where before there were only Wal-Mart share price triumphs and Foxconn profits. Both American and European middle-classes are too exhausted financially to continue the consumer orgy of the early millennium. The trade imbalances are horrific. Unpayable debt saturates everything. Sick economies will weigh down commodity prices except for food-related things. The planet Earth has probably reached peak food production, including peak fertilizer. Supplies of grain will be inadequate in 2014 to feed the still-expanding masses of the poor places in the world.

The nervous calm in finance and economies since 2008 has its mirror in the relative calm of the political scene. Uprisings and skirmishes have broken out, but nothing that so far threatens the peace between great powers. There have been the now-historic revolts in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and other Middle East and North African (MENA) states. Iraq is once again disintegrating after a decade of American “nation-building.” Greece is falling apart. Spain and Italy should be falling apart but haven’t yet. France is sinking into bankruptcy. The UK is in on the grift with the USA and insulated from the Euro, but the British Isles are way over-populated with a volatile multi-ethnic mix and not much of an economy outside the financial district of London. There were riots in — of all places — Sweden this year. Turkey entered crisis just a few weeks ago along with Ukraine.

I predict more colorful political strife in Europe this year, boots in the street, barricades, gunfire, and bombs. The populations of these countries will want relief measures from their national governments, but the sad news is that these governments are broke, so austerity seems to be the order of the day no matter what. I think this will prod incipient revolts in a rightward nationalist direction. If it was up to Marine LePen’s rising National Front party, they would solve the employment problem by expelling all the recent immigrants — though the mere attempt would probably provoke widespread race war in France.

The quarrel between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands is a diversion from the real action in the South China Sea, said to hold large underwater petroleum reserves. China is the world’s second greatest oil importer. Their economy and the credibility of its non-elected government depends on keeping the oil supply up. They are a long way from other places in the world where oil comes from, hence their eagerness to secure and dominate the South China Sea. The idea is that China would make a fuss over the Senkaku group, get Japan and the US to the negotiating table, and cede the dispute over them to Japan in exchange for Japan and the US supporting China’s claims in the South China Sea against the other neighbors there: Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

The catch is that Japan may be going politically insane just now between the rigors of (Shinzo) Abenomics and the mystical horrors of Fukushima. Japan’s distress appears to be provoking a new mood of nationalist militarism of a kind not seen there since the 1940s. They’re talking about arming up, rewriting the pacifist articles in their constitution. Scary, if you have a memory of the mid-20th century. China should know something about national psychotic breaks, having not so long ago endured the insanity of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution (1966-71). So they might want to handle Japan with care. On the other hand, China surely nurtures a deep, deadly grudge over the crimes perpetrated by Japan in the Second World War, and now has a disciplined, world-class military, and so maybe they would like to kick Japan’s ass. It’s a hard one to call. I suspect that in 2014, the ball is in Japan’s court. What will they do? If the US doesn’t stay out of the way of that action, then we are insane, too.

That said, I stick by my story from last year’s forecast: Japan’s ultimate destination is to “go medieval.” They’re never going to recover from Fukushima, their economy is unraveling, they have no fossil fuels of their own and have to import everything, and their balance of payments is completely out of whack. The best course for them will be to just throw in the towel on modernity. Everybody else is headed that way, too, eventually, so Japan might as well get there first and set a good example.

By “go medieval” I mean re-set to a pre-industrial World Made By Hand level of operation. I’m sure that outcome seems laughably implausible to most readers, but I maintain that both the human race and the planet Earth need a “time out” from the ravages of “progress,” and circumstances are going to force the issue anyway, so we might as well kick back and get with the program: go local, downscale, learn useful skills, cultivate our gardens, get to know our neighbors, learn how to play a musical instrument, work, dine, and dance with our friends.


- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Mon, 01/06/2014 - 20:40 | 4306128 knukles
knukles's picture

Now that is a thing of beauty

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 20:49 | 4306161 DaddyO
DaddyO's picture

Oh no he didn't!

Just blew up the Bakken Oil Field myth...


Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:09 | 4306214 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

good action

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 23:42 | 4306778 old naughty
old naughty's picture

What's with the image?

So we would have the dragonslayer wielding his sword, once again?

Sacred,scared; Holy, holy.

Here now!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 01:08 | 4306975 DaddyO
DaddyO's picture

We interupt our regularly scheduled programming for this important update...

GO 'NOLES, 2014 National Champs!!

Now back to our regular program...


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 02:41 | 4307150 derek_vineyard
derek_vineyard's picture

sports allegience is for the meek.  athletes and coaches are  pampered and ego driven. how can you worship them?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 03:18 | 4307191 boogerbently
boogerbently's picture

Kunstler nailed it. 6 years of insightful, accurate history distilled into this one article.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 08:00 | 4307424 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



We're gonna get calls about this.


It’s an even more abstract form of “money” than fiat currencies or securities based on fiat currencies. Do we need more abstraction in our economic lives? I don’t think so.


Oh no....he didn't.

Don't look at me.....I'm NOT answering that damn phone

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 23:54 | 4306808 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Kuntsler is duking it out with Jim Willie to be the No. 1 uber-bear in the world.  I am not saying that he is wrong about most of what he writes above, but he does think linearly.

I expect an epic crack-up myself.  Will it go down along Kuntsler's lines?  I don't know, and that's the problem: we don't know!

One of my oldest friends has a PhD in Geology, he worked as an "Oil Finder" (much prized in the industry) for Exxon.  When the Peak Oil notion became the fashion a few years ago, I wrote him and asked his opinion.  His terse reply: "There's plenty of oil."  Now I do not know if there is plenty or not, but Kuntsler is essentially right about what we know about Bakken and Eagle Ford: the oil runs out fast at wells in both fields.

He also points out the many mistakes of the Fed and our government to not think ahead (Obamacare, ZIRP, etc.).  This is quite correct, as well as his cultural observations on the sad state of US Pop Culture, where he describes it better than anyone else (although Jim Quinn is good too)...


Bottom Line:

Kuntsler is telling each of us, that we had better be saving and preparing.  Owning a gold is a darn fine idea.  Having a garden (which condo dwelling Bearings we do not) as well.  Skills.  Right-sized communities.

It is possible that he is too bearish.  I have been bearish since Jimmy Carter (things DID look scary then, trust me young 'uns).  But, it is possible that he (as well as I) could be wrong, to some degree or other.

Our Plan B is to live in Peru if we time any emergency correctly.  We're OK in the city of Lima.  We already have capital there.  Peru can feed itself and has a LOT of resources.

But, I would take at least some of his advice and not bet against him.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 23:55 | 4306825 JohnnyBlaze
JohnnyBlaze's picture

DoChen.  Do you have any input on Uraguay? 


Really enjoy your posts.  Keep it up!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:07 | 4306834 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

If you have money and speak Spanish, Uruguay, Chile and Costa Rica would be my top bets.  Our Plan B is Peru, because our infrastructure is there.

Uruguay: moderate climate, not too crowded, lots of agriculture, tolerance

Chile: by recent historical standards Chile is very responsible, well governed.

Costa Rica: if you have money enjoy life there, "Pura Vida!"

Disclosure, I have only spent a few weeks (total) in Costa Rica, but it seems pretty much as advertised.  I spent one AFTERNOON in Uruguay, but I would be fairly confident that it is pretty much as advertised as well.  I have spent NO time in Chile, but hear a lot of good things.


Avoid Argentina (even though Doug Casey has his little colony there), epic irresponsible place.  Avoid Venezuela and Nicargaua, I know people from EACH who have left and they ALL say that things are terrible in those two.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:24 | 4306888 JohnnyBlaze
JohnnyBlaze's picture

Thanks for the info DoChen!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:25 | 4306890 akak
akak's picture

How about if you speak Spanish and DON'T have much money?

I bet the low-bullet-count season in Guatemala is very nice.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:39 | 4306921 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

akak, ol buddy ol pal!  It would depend on your circumstances (like who you know, your skill set, etc.).  Having skills they need would help.

You might just stay where you are at, IIRC you might not be too messed with...  Armed to the teeth, with PMs buried, and a pirate flag over your place!  The Hungry Horde might very well pass you by...

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:46 | 4306933 akak
akak's picture

DoChen, good to 'see' you, as always!

I have for years considered moving to South America, but the lack of a portable treasure (well, any treasure, really) as well as the lack of an advanced skill set such as being a doctor or engineer have, among other factors, deterred me from pursuing the idea, at least so far.  But I still think of it often, having traveled at some length down that way and having liked a good deal of what I saw (as well as liking less and less a good deal of what I currently see in the USSA).

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 03:48 | 4307221 sterling effort
sterling effort's picture


You appear to have a pretty good brain.

You could take that with you.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 11:33 | 4308026 HobbyFarmer
HobbyFarmer's picture

One of my closest friends moved his family to Guatemala and started an eco-tourism/permaculture farm.  Raising rabbits, pigs, chickens, corn, beans, veggies, worm-farming, composting, etc.  this is in the mountains near a few small villages. 

He and his wife are fluent in spanish but moved there as very poor Americans....he has purchased an acre and is building a home and the micro-farm I mentioned.

It can be done very cheap.  His family is working with locals to teach permaculture techniques and is earning a lot of valuable friendships.

from our communications, he gives this area of Guatemala and especially the weather, major thumbs up.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 11:42 | 4308064 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

lake atitlan?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 02:10 | 4307093 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

do as akak peak oil troll would do - live on the democrap entitlement plantation 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:31 | 4306905 BLOTTO
BLOTTO's picture

No visible means of support and you have not seen nothin' yet
Everything's stuck together
I don't know what you expect staring into the TV set
Fighting fire with fire

Burning down the house

~Talking Heads, Burning Down the House


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 07:40 | 4307410 samcontrol
samcontrol's picture

Do Chen,

you are giving really bad advice,,, have you been to Argentina and if you have , have you been outside of Bs as ?

Epic irresponsible yes but NO MORE than the US or the countries you mention. The chaos has advantages, many.
I am way more FREE than where you live man , i guarantee it. I pay no taxes have 0 debt (most don,t have debt here) and i don,t even use a credit card in Argentina. My bank account here is at around 100 bucks . Don,t be confused i live like a king but UNDER the RADAR and that is why ARGENTINA should be a TOP pick...imo

ARGENTINA is bigger than those " provinces" you mention.
Geographically it is a MONSTER.

I felt like i was transported to planet of the apes when I moved .
Now I am the ape, and very happy about it. Most of "us" are selfish dipsticks, but the cool 10% is just as nice as anywhere else.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:15 | 4307250 Rantabulous
Rantabulous's picture

Hi DoChen,

'Peak Oil' is not about reserves. It is about production. There is most certainly "plenty of oil" left. 

The issue is about rate of production and energy return. You can still play around with the definition a bit by narrowing to conventional forms of production vs unconventional etc, but in the end it doesn't really matter - at best you can only push the date. It is simple math. You eventually will reach a maximum point of production after which you will go into terminal decline.

It happens per well, per region, per country - it will (and arguably already has depending on your definition) happen globally. 

Decline rates are typically 4-6% annually.

The problem with oil is this : oil is essentially magical stuff. It is in everything. After production peaks, we will need to very rapidly (over a decade or so because of the decline rates) be implementing substitutes on a MASSIVE scale. People concerned about Peak Oil are, I believe, concerned that this transition will at best be fraught, probably highly disruptive, or conceivably just impossible relative to the world we have known in the 20th century.

If you look at Robert Hirsch's report for the DOE in 2005(?) his conclusion was something like that we would need 20 years to transition if we start before the Peak. If we wait until the Peak we are in big trouble. Given that this decade is likely the crest/plateau of the peak and we aren't even talking about it - you can bet we are heading towards Hirsch's 'worst case scenario'.



Tue, 01/07/2014 - 05:04 | 4307309 Lore
Lore's picture

I knew an old guy in the oil and gas industry in Alberta, Canada during the 70s boom times, when you could drive Highway 2 and literally see thousands of those little grasshopper wells pumping away.  They're all gone, leaving a network of feeder pipe and modern pumping facilties to pick up dregs from comparatively shallow wells.  I say 'comparative' because he stressed right to his dying day that the biggest fields and pools (oil, gas, CBM) are DEEP in Central Alberta, and "One day, the drills will come back."  I've spoken with other industry geologists with a similar opinion since.  When OPEC approached then-Premier Ralph Klein to discuss associate membership, they weren't thinking merely of Oilsands. 

Like everything else in today's world economy, the timing of Peak Oil is highly vulnerable to manipulation. Vast expanses of wilderness across the Earth have yet to see one exploratory drill bit.  The depletion curve could actually wobble "in a technical range" for decades before eventually dropping in a way that could be viewed as having reasonable finality.  It's just a matter of higher prices and acceptance.  Lots of product remains to be extracted at different depths and in different formations.

Good piece by Mr. Kuntsler.  Met him once.  His paintings are rosier than his prose.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 06:51 | 4307381 Martel
Martel's picture

Kunstler's writings are enjoyable, but he and many others in the Peak Oil crowd do not think clearly, confusing their wants with what's actually happening. Kunstler envisions a return to the way of life we had 100-150 years ago. It probably requires the willpower of a demigod to ignore what's happening in Science: a steady progress in computers, AI, 3D-printing, drones, self-driving cars etc. These things will be part of the future, whether Kunstler ignores them or not. The energy production can crash all it likes - it won't crash enough to prevent those things from happening. Hence, the future will look quite different than what Kunstler envisions.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:00 | 4307496 centerline
centerline's picture

There is a good chance this is true (what you said).  No one knows exactly where this is heading.  Only that there are practical limits to growth.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 16:08 | 4309073 Martel
Martel's picture

I agree there are limits to (fossil fuel induced) growth, and I agree the easier half of oil resources has already been consumed (Peak Oil). Still, falling down that slope will take long, and in the nearest decades, the decline is not steep. The future won't look like 1850s with horses, carts and manual labor. The future may be energy poor in fossil fuels, but it will be rich in robotics and information technology.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 07:09 | 4307390 ebear
ebear's picture

"Kuntsler is duking it out with Jim Willie to be the No. 1 uber-bear in the world."

Markets can stay irrational longer than uberbears can retain their credibility.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 12:05 | 4308155 moneybots
moneybots's picture

"But, I would take at least some of his advice and not bet against him."


This is the problem, though.  The stock market had a record one day crash in 1987Ravi Batra wrote "The Great Depression of 1990."  Others have written "Crash" books since then and the big crash has yet to happen.  Wait till next year, wait till next year, wait till next year.  It is next year again and there are all sorts of predictions, one way or another.  In 2012 there were those calling for a recession to be obvious by 2013.  Yes, if you subtract the debt we have negative GDP, but by that measure we have been in a recession since 1980.  The posted GDP was positive all through 2013.  So should i listen to these people arguing for this or that to happen this year? 

Going parabolic, there should be some kind of drop in the market, but how deep?  The FED has the presses standing by. 


"Kuntsler is telling each of us, that we had better be saving and preparing.  Owning a gold is a darn fine idea."


Until the government decides to confiscate it or puts some windfall tax on it, if the price skyrockets like some predict.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:13 | 4306857 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

It is NOT peak oil, it's peak in-efficiency.

Cars give the same mileage (basically) as the model t.

Or less, if you consider embedded energy.

Peak oil is a myth. Peak in-efficiency disguised as progress is the problem...


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 03:53 | 4307225 zhandax
zhandax's picture

IOW, if automobiles had followed the same development curve as the PC, a Rolls Royce today would cost $100 and explode once a year, killing everyone inside?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 05:05 | 4307316 Lore
Lore's picture


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 07:25 | 4307403 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Wow, two great minds, Zandax who cannot make an apples to apples comparison and brother Lore here who clearly likes beign a dumb wingman.


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 23:07 | 4310264 Lore
Lore's picture

No need to get personal. You made a stupid post;  learn from it and move on.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 07:12 | 4307392 muleskinner
muleskinner's picture

A relative of mine that farmed land sitting on top of the Bakken formation had an oil company drill a well in 1962.  He bought a brand new 1963 Ford.  The well is still pumping oil and looks like it will for another 50 years.

I know of Bakken Formation wells that have been doing the same and they never seem to stop.

Although, the depletion rates are in line with some wells drilled recently, but the wells never seem to stop pumping, some just don't pump as much.  I know, I see checks from oil companies.  I see the stats.  Been receiving checks from oil companies in the Bakken for years now, many of them.

The idea that the Bakken will begin slowly decreasing in production is not correct.

Kuntsler is all wet when making statements about the Bakken formation and the depletion rate.

Google Leigh Price and read what he has to say about the Bakken.

I'll make it easy.



Mon, 01/06/2014 - 20:56 | 4306168 VD
VD's picture

so correct in almost every aspect and yet so fucking wrong about oil! jesus man stop with the peak oil bullshit already; eg the 400k to drill a well circa 1930's adjusted is so fucking off base it's not even funny...

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:09 | 4306199 centerline
centerline's picture

Hmm... finite planet, finite resources versus infinite growth.  Economic systems predicated on infinite growth (and limited by economic constraints like cost of energy which gets more expensive as demand outstrips supply, and economic systems grind up against thier own limits).

Hmm.  (scratching head).

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:13 | 4306219 VD
VD's picture

like most hysterical Neo-Malthusianz whose infinite myopic gaze is incapable of perusing a single fucking legit study/report on energy, this Kunstler has been defecating all over himself and everyone willing to join him in his peak oil nonsense for how many fucking years now? do u realize what happened to Malthus' predicitions? do you realize the flaws of said predictions? did you or Kunstler ever study this shit? i doubt it...

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:21 | 4306244 centerline
centerline's picture

Malthus was too linear.  He missed the mark by a country mile.

What happened to his theories?  Well, some argued technology would allow for more.  They were right.  Some argued that redistribution (Marxism) would allow for more.  They were right.

Where they are wrong is that they only modified Malthus's work.  They did not refute it.  None proved that growth is not constrained.  They only provided reasonable mechanisms to cram more assholes on this floating rock.

Finite planet = fininte resources.  Even a study of bacteria shows how this works.  Think we are better than bacteria VD?  I don't.  Not as a herd.

Regarding Peak Oil, it is an economic constrant related only in part to production.  The military has been "think tanking" this shit since the 70's.  It is a long process - and has twists and turns like demand destruction due to economic decline.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:21 | 4306254 VD
VD's picture

i have profound respect for farmers and appreciate the vital necessity of farming, but just cause u can plant a tuber n make it grow dont mean u can appreciate a paper on a subject such as energy and energy projections. Neo-Malthusianism is almost as bad as Neo-Keynesianism, in diametrically opposing ways ;)

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:26 | 4306276 new game
new game's picture

kuunstler has a book to sell, give it enough time him and his democratic buddies will get it right.

in the mean time both parties(listen up kuns), yea both parties don't give a shits what you are selling...

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:28 | 4306287 VD
VD's picture

correct. and if Kuntzler invested according to how he shits out his opinions in his books he'd be living in a cardboard box and using an EBT card for sustenance....

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 03:28 | 4307196 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

Kunstler is a wordsmith and he spins a good yarn. His technique, like all good wordsmiths (Freud is another good example and was a splendid stylist in German) is to create a believable narrative that resonates on different levels. For instance, he focuses on the meritricious aspects of American culture. Here is where his elitism shines through. It is interesting to listen to what Webster Tarpley has to say about the elitist/oligarchical roots of Malthusianism. Kunstler is solidly in this tradition even though he harps on Fed governors wearing tortoiseshell glasses who went to Andover.

Tarpley is extremely well educated, particularily in history, which is where all of his best ideas come from. Unlike Kunstler, he is not an oligarchical prig who merely has a gift for writing. Recently he has been pointing out that we are very close to developing unlimited energy with the development of the latest tokamak reactor at Princeton and the start of the ITER project in Europe.

Indeed, Kunstler, despite his ranting about derivatives, etc seems to be getting the oligharchs off the hook by blaming everything on peak oil. Read Tarpley at for a meatier and more informed perspective.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:40 | 4307284 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

Take it as a datapoint and chill out, fellas.  There's plenty of opinion to go around.

Tarpley is a statist tool.

I am Chumbawamba.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 06:36 | 4307372 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

It's true he doesn't write "I am Webster Tarpley" at the bottom of all his posts.

I am Escapeclaws ;)

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:26 | 4307560 Ranger4564
Ranger4564's picture

Well played. I need to learn from you.

Agreed with your prior comments as well.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 10:01 | 4307669 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

You are very kind and i'm flattered that you find something of value in what I wrote.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 05:10 | 4307322 Lore
Lore's picture

Re: "getting the oligarchs off the hook by blaming everything on peak oil."

VERY good point.  Occam was lazy.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:04 | 4307511 centerline
centerline's picture

So many names in history that have provided "theories" which were politically motivated - biased horribly for one reason or another.  That is the real takeaway I think.  Everything with a grain of salt.  Nothing in life is really linear or simple.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:31 | 4306282 centerline
centerline's picture

Didn't follow that logic at all.  What does that have to do with Neo-Malthusianism?  In fact, drop the labels alltogether.

The gist here is simple.  Malthus figures growth can't go on forever and ever without hitting some sort of wall.  He is right.  His "math" sucks though.

Finite planet = finite growth.  There isn't much else to say.  Just a matter of how much tech and how much redistribution is possible before systems crack (social complexity, economies, etc.).

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:32 | 4307582 Ranger4564
Ranger4564's picture

The error which you're ignoring is that what is considered "material resource" is not limited to what was previously conceived, so we're not on as finite a rock as some of you pretend. In fact, we're on a vastly more infinite planet as each technological innovation allows for use of unknown / unforseen resources. Take for example Solar / Wind, just as cheap examples of what was long unknown / ignored, and what has the potential to be an infinite resource. You can't use up the Sun's rays, and you can't kill off Wind. What you can do is minimize the damage of "peak oil" by using solar / wind as much as possible to operate the infrastructure, and to only rely on oil when it's absolutely essential. They call them essential oils for a reason. ;-) 

And, with research in chemistry / biology, we're inventing materials vastly superior to materials of days gone by. We will continue to use the imagination, which is unlimited by the way, to solve the problems of scarcity. Which is why, as a species, we've constantly progressed towards surplus.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 11:25 | 4307997 centerline
centerline's picture

Funny.  Infinite Planet.  Yeah.  Keep smoking the good stuff there Ranger.  You do realize how exponential growth works, right?  (or should I say - doesn't).

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:31 | 4306514 logicalman
logicalman's picture

You can't fight exponential ANYTHING and infinity is a bitch.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:06 | 4306841 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

"Some argued that redistribution (Marxism) would allow for more.  They were right"

Wrong. Consider Soviet Russia, Cuba, North Korea, Venuzuela, Argentina, etc. 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:05 | 4307514 centerline
centerline's picture

Look around you today.  What do you think is keeping the free shit army from pulling your arms off?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:22 | 4306880 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

finite resources = typical democrap progressive communist pig thinking = there's not enough so i got steal yours



Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:48 | 4306938 akak
akak's picture

Sorry, the Rush Limbaugh-Dick Cheney Fan Club is one website over.

Thanks for visiting anyway.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 02:13 | 4307101 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

The Oprah show is over so take your fat peak oil obamatron ass out and chase a windmill 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 03:48 | 4307222 e_goldstein
e_goldstein's picture

If you think Akak is an obamatron (sic), you're wrong.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:12 | 4307246 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

so how do you know whether akak is not also an obamatron (sic) in addition to being a pompous arrogant obnoxious peak oil troll?




Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:33 | 4307273 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

completely irrelevant! i would say that YOU are the troll, because you are going off on a tangent of what akak's political beliefs might be - who the hell cares?

the fact that we live in a finite world with finite resources is an obvious fact, only a completely deluded moron would refuse to acknowledge this obvious fact.

in fact, scarcity is what gives things like gold, and silver, and oil, such value as they have.

and no, recognizing that we live in a finite world does *not* mean that i support any sort of wealth or resource re-distribution scheme by the government, i am 100% opposed to that, and opposed to the existence of any government at all.

so stop pulling unsubstantiated conclusions out your ass and use the thinking organ at the other end of your body for a change.


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 05:04 | 4307314 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

ah go stick your troll head up your mother's fat ass and look for some peak oil

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:42 | 4307287 blabam
blabam's picture

STFU newbie. 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 05:08 | 4307318 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

blabam after you pull your troll head out of your mother's fat ass go stick it up stacking12321 mother's fat ass and look for some peak oil 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 23:14 | 4310284 Welder
Welder's picture

You're wasting my time. Please, stop posting.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 02:28 | 4307130 malek
malek's picture

 Finite planet = fininte resources.

You forget the other side of the picture:

Infinite amount of science to still be discovered/developed = infinite ways to make more/better use of those finite resources.

There is no outcome guarantee -and for sure no free pass on wasting resources- because of this, but so far ingenuity has always won over limits as otherwise we wouldn't be posting here today.


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:15 | 4307143 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

Brilliant! Try telling that to the pompous, arrogant, obnoxious peak oil trolls on ZH like akak and centerline!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:08 | 4307520 centerline
centerline's picture

Is this another one of VD's logins?  State your case idiot.  You already failed on the redistribution thing (see post above).  Therefore, everything else from here that eminates from your pie hole is suspect.  lol.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:12 | 4307533 centerline
centerline's picture

This is the same tech argument.  It is correct but still constrained (e.g. Laws of Thermodynamics are the underlying floor on this).

Now, let's back up from maximum thermodynamic efficiency to a "human" world where waste is actually part of our economies (Broken Window economics).  Do you think our nature will change quick enough to avoid hitting the proverbial wall?  What if tech already created overshoot?  What then?

Seriously Malek... I am asking questions - not poking you in the eye here.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 14:23 | 4308616 malek
malek's picture

Ahem, calling us constrained by the Laws of Thermodynamics when we have a massive singularity close by that will shower us with energy gradients for at least the next 3 billion years (the Sun) -
do you even realize what bullshit you are dispensing here?

And you know what, waste is even part of being a civilized human, as completely eliminating waste would only be possible in a perfect totalitarian system - as even mercifulness is a kind of waste in a strict utilitarian sense.

I and no one else can rule out we are in an overshoot, as perfect knowledge would be needed to completely rule out such.
But as always if current knowledge ends up giving you an ambivalent picture, it might help looking to history as a strong indicator.
So now show me clear examples when an overshoot occurred mainly by human decisions (not force majeure), which could not have been staved off by technology -as known at the time- if properly applied.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 08:07 | 4307431 thestarl
thestarl's picture

George Miller and Byron Kennedys Mad Max man check it out.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:19 | 4306246 akak
akak's picture

You should tell it to the pre-collapse Easter Islanders, or the Classical Mayans, or the Greenland Norse --- if you could still find any.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:23 | 4306260 VD
VD's picture

why don't u explain to us in a Kuntsler/Neo-Malthusian framework how these pre-collapse civilizations went the way of the dinosaur ... please, amuse us...

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:35 | 4306312 akak
akak's picture

They all exhausted one or more critical resource without which their societies could no longer continue.

There, was that simple enough for (even) you?

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:39 | 4306317 VD
VD's picture

please elaborate. this is going to be fun. and please frame it in a peak oil context, since that is what we're arguing.


please start with the Mayans LOL!!!!

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:40 | 4306333 akak
akak's picture

I guess you are too stupid to draw the simple and logical analogy. 

Each of those societies, through overpopulation and/or resource overuse, all depleted one or more resouce (soil and soil fertility in each case, with trees added in for the Easter Islanders and the Norse) which was critical to the continuation of their society, if not their very physical survival.

Oil is a critical resource for OUR society.

Ergo, deplete oil past a certain point, and doom our society to radical change or collapse.


I hope I was clear enough for you.  I tried to type slowly, as I know you cannot read very fast.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:46 | 4306357 centerline
centerline's picture

I would like to hear VD step up and tell us about the Mayans and how they trancended to the magical tree-hugging world of infinite free energy (and love for all).

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:50 | 4306371 VD
VD's picture

there i fucking stepped up and owned both of you, but unfortunately you're both too dense to appreciate that...

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:13 | 4306440 akak
akak's picture

VD, you are hopelessly and factually outgunned here, and besides, you're forgetting that I have AnAnonymous' magical lightning-powered time-traveling flying rickshaw with which to go back in time and see exactly what happened in all of these cases.

PS:  In case you ever wondered, Jesus was not blond.  He did have a wicked sense of humor, though.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:24 | 4306449 VD
VD's picture

well the theory of Jesus being not blonde is one i subscribe to, but i can't say for sure. what i can say for sure is that i studied the energy papers and there are a lot of variables and nuances that most don't know and/or appreciate across varying timeframes, not limited to unknown variables like changing tech and/or pricing for extraction etc etc etc


and i wish i were outgunned here, truly... but theories about ancient civilizations with the only consensus being that there is no consensus does not validate Neo-Malthusian hysterical bitchingz about peak oil theory...


and please refer to Al Gore on global warming while you're at it -- that too is another nice theory a la Peak Oil...just as the ice age starts to set in, literally across the East Coast LOL!

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:36 | 4306517 centerline
centerline's picture

Holy shit - a coherent sentence.  Now we are cooking with oil (ha ha).

Peak oil is about EROEI.  And is inherently complicated.  A confluence of factors, some economic, is what causes a tipping point.  Clearly, population growth and increasing demands for cheap energy are part of the equation.

Regarding Malthus, please explain how the general concept of infinite growth is possible on a finite planet?  Or, have you thrown the proverbial baby out with the bathwater like Engles?  Maybe serving a political purpose - lol.

As far as ancient civilizations are concerned, what is lost in working with reasonable established theories - most of which agree on certain factors like resource constraints (common threads)?  Just because we don't have the decline on YouTube doesn't mean pretending nothing happened.  Nothing ventured here is nothing gained.  Even today we see resource constraint issues playing out on small scales.


Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:51 | 4306596 Muppetrage
Muppetrage's picture

Good thing there is a star 1.3 million times the volume of the earth constantly bombarding us with clean sustainable energy. I guess if there was some feasible way to make it seem scarce we would already be using it as our main energy source you know besides the fact that it supplies all the food to every living being past and present.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 23:03 | 4306638 centerline
centerline's picture

The rub is that even that will inherently dictate some population threshold.  There really is no substitute at this time for the energy derived from oil.  It's EROEI is unmatched.

BTW, I am a huge advocate of energy sciences and the development of technologies to get us off this rock.  Not sure we will live past our adolesence as a species otherwise.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 23:26 | 4306725 Muppetrage
Muppetrage's picture

Yes definitely a population threshold, EROEI would become moot at some point.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 02:07 | 4307091 Rock On Roger
Rock On Roger's picture

That was fun.


Stack On

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 05:33 | 4307342 edotabin
edotabin's picture

I think we have reached peak shitheads on this planet. If we, as a species, pulled our head out of our ass we could master our environment in a much shorter period of time. Then we would not be limited to the confines of earth or even this galaxy. 

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:55 | 4306600 Imminent Crucible
Imminent Crucible's picture

"there are a lot of variables and nuances that most don't know and/or appreciate across varying timeframes, not limited to unknown variables like changing tech and/or pricing for extraction etc etc etc"

Well, damn.  Yer can't argue wit that there bulletproof kinda logic.

On da udder hand, there's lotsa things dat we don't 'xactly know right down to the last durn decimal place, and therefore it's tuff to make predictions, specially bout the future an' all.

But we do know that infinite growth is not possible within the context of the sort of vacuous bullshit you're spewing.  God help us.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 23:07 | 4306657 centerline
centerline's picture

Holy shit I almost lost dinner laughing.  Thanks IC.  That was priceless.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 02:37 | 4306904 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

democrap peak oil trolls are easily amused

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 02:41 | 4307151 Rock On Roger
Rock On Roger's picture

Silly boy

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 03:25 | 4307195 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

the only silly stupid ones here are the peak oil trolls akak and centerline

and i ain't no boi!
Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:34 | 4306521 logicalman
logicalman's picture

Give him a break, he was at the back of the queue when they were handing out brains.

I usually refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 02:39 | 4307148 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

well, you should know all about being last in line for brains and being unarmed 

that's why you hang with peak oil trolls 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:26 | 4306869 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

akak and centerline: just democrap peak oil trolls 

oh and for the record, Jesus was blond

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:28 | 4306896 akak
akak's picture

a) Not a democrat

b) Not a troll either (although I DID stay at a Holiday Inn last night)

c) Peak Oil is a scientific fact and eventuality, no matter what one's opinion may be, as the potential oil supply, and the earth itself, is finite.

d) Jesus had an afro.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:32 | 4306906 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

whoring out your cheap peak oil ass again at the holiday inn? 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:39 | 4306924 akak
akak's picture

I like how you immediately uparrowed your own post.


Tue, 01/07/2014 - 03:36 | 4307209 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

Classy is something that pompous, obnoxious, arrogant peak oil trolls like akak know nothing about! 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:16 | 4307543 centerline
centerline's picture

So, S, your going down the same path as VD.  Insults only.  Nothing to back up your position - or narrow definitions - or expand the conversation.

So, just like I said to VD - step up or continue to make yourself look ignorant.  Your choice.  Either way is good.  One way we get to have a real conversation.  The other way, we toss you around for sport to see how many insults you can generate.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 03:42 | 4307216 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

a) Not a democrat

b) Not a troll either (although I DID stay at a Holiday Inn last night)

c) Peak Oil is a scientific fact and eventuality, no matter what one's opinion may be, as the potential oil supply, and the earth itself, is finite.

d) Jesus had an afro.


I agree with all four of these.


(Except that you claim that you stayed at a Holiday Inn??? You are 5 Star Hotel style, Akak. You do not have to be modest.)


Yes Queen Sheeba of Ethiopia was Ethiopean, African. And Jesus Christ either had Olive Skin or had a very dark complexion. In fact he was not good looking according to the Bible. (Nobody reads the book...)


Shale Oil is a farce which the hucksters are trying to sell.


And as for Oil??? IT IS STORED SOLAR ENERGY. Just what fueled those Fossilized Plants to grow Millions of years ago?


If we get a Solar Cell Breakthrough and are able to create Energy efficiently then we stand a chance. The Sun is still the best bet.


FUSION Reactors are the second best bet and we can mine the Helium 3 that has been blasting the Moon for the past 3.5 Billion Years. But we needed to set up Lunar Bases to do just that. G.W, Bush had it right on that account.


Obummer is just too damned MYOPIC to have continued that venture. Maybe Elon Musk will do it.


But the age of Oil has begun a decline. Sorry folks. Exponential Growth leads to Exponential Collapse in all adiabatic systems.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:33 | 4307275 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

Solar cells are a farce sold by hucksters like the thugs who bankrupted Solyndra after receiving billions of taxpayers money before funneling some of it to Obama's presidential campaign. 



Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:18 | 4307545 centerline
centerline's picture

EROEI is not there under the current economic constraints and structure of modern society (energy hogs).

I agree with what you said here.

See... wasn't that easy?  

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:40 | 4307285 akak
akak's picture

Tall Tom,

I have read the Bible from cover to cover, parts of it more than once, and I cannot recall anywhere in the NT in which Jesus' appearance was commented upon.  Can you point to the book and chapter in which that information is given?  Thanks.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 05:19 | 4307332 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

It is actually an OT Reference

Isaiah 53:2-3 "He had no beauty or majesty  to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, like one from whom men hide their faces. He was despised and we esteemed Him not."

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 06:30 | 4307365 i-dog
i-dog's picture

An Old Testament description of Jesus (which, by the way, omitted hair colour)? ROFL...well, that proves it then! [Now I must clean the coffee snorted into my keyboard]

FYI, Jesus was a blonde (and it weren't no 'fro). On the other points, Akak is on the money.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 16:28 | 4309138 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

If you believe in Jesus then you must also accept the Prophecy about Jesus as accurate. Jesus was of the lineage of David, Palestinian, and a Jew. There were no Blonds in that part of the World.


Sorry to confuse you with the facts. But Queen Sheeba of Ethiopia is in the Bloodline. Ethiopia does not have any native blonds. 

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 02:04 | 4310646 i-dog
i-dog's picture

Idiot. Don't judge the world by YOUR interpretation of an ancient POLITICAL document - and based on your own [non-existent] knowledge of the area.

Firstly, the Jews themselves claim that both Jesus and David were of Amorite descent. The Amorites were tall, fair and most un-Semitic (they were therefore likely of Khazar descent).

Secondly, the Hittites (who invaded Anatolia) and the Hyksos (who invaded Egypt) were also blonde-haired and blue-eyed (ie. also Khazarians). The Hyksos were thrown out of Egypt into Canaan (and were thence taken into captivity in Babylon). They passed these genes onto the Macedonians and Etruscans (and therefore also to the Ptolemies , Caesar, and Jesus (on both his mother's and his father's side) ... but that's a well-documented story that you'll never accept, so I won't even bother to go into it here).

Suffice to say that you're as blind as a brainwashed bat!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 05:48 | 4307344 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

So the pompous, arrogant, obnoxious asak claims to have read the Bible from cover to cover? It's obvious that asak has never adopted any of the teachings about love in the Bible seeing the way asak attacked those who dare to oppose him like VD did.

But then, what do you expect from a pompous, arrogant, obnoxious peak oil troll like asak? 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 16:29 | 4309142 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

I repeat...Get thee behind me Satan.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 08:55 | 4307486 drdolittle
drdolittle's picture

Jesus had a jewfro

I'm going to say it once, more as a marker for my hatred of the saying and hoping the cliche is dead (things die when I finally accept them)

There! Fixed it for you!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 16:48 | 4309209 marathonman
marathonman's picture

Bonus credit for akak bringing back references to AnAnonymous.  That was freaking hilarious!

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:43 | 4306483 centerline
centerline's picture

How do you "own" any conversation without offering anything?  The only thing you have owned here is a demonstration in front of everyone that you are unwilling to engage in this conversation and are looking terribly foolish for it.

Just like where we started with the "neo-Malthusian" jab, you haven't refuted anything.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:36 | 4306914 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

nor have you democrap peak oil troll 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:22 | 4307557 centerline
centerline's picture

That's funny.  I can see now that you are fueled only by right-left, party sort of politics rather than math or science.  Funny.

hint:  Democrats and Repubs are all the same... one big political class that will do whatever they can to stay in power... at yours and mine expense.  And they are going to wreck the world in the process.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 08:10 | 4307436 thestarl
thestarl's picture

Your on a hiding VD

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:49 | 4306359 VD
VD's picture

hey akak do u realize that there is no consensus on why the Mayans went extinct? nice fucking try! or maybe u published the dinifitive Mayan historical work and finally discovered the true cause of their 'collapse'.


go play with that other rube....or better yet go suck on Kuntzlerz hysterical kunt...

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:50 | 4306367 centerline
centerline's picture

What are the leading theories?

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:51 | 4306375 VD
VD's picture

pick your fucking theory and make it jive with your utter lack of knowlege about energy.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 21:58 | 4306398 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Peanut allergies.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:01 | 4306406 VD
VD's picture

that's about as valid fonz as all the other forced theories... no one knows and yet akak claims to have the answer. there just are no limits to stupidity...

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:08 | 4306425 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I am just trying to lighten the mood. You guys are on the verge of an interesting thread but you keep resorting to rage filled insults. No need for that. Centerline and Akak are good dudes. 

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:15 | 4306445 centerline
centerline's picture

Thanks Fonz.

Waiting for VD to contribute anything of value.  Any paper or position or theory.  To explain his position relative to what has been said.  He might be coming from a different position where there is a common thread... maybe something to change MY thinking by 1 degree.  Always cool when that happens.  But, I am not budging without something to chew on.  So far, this has been a hollow experience - lol.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:36 | 4307281 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

centerline and akak are both pompous, arrogant, obnoxious fools who are peak oil trolls! 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:48 | 4307296 akak
akak's picture

You have clearly vigorously broken through the crust of the nib of the mattering thing.

US 'american' citizenism congratulations are in the order!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 05:17 | 4307330 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

Troll must be vigorously drinking that peak oil? 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 11:06 | 4307923 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Many angries in the talkings of the commenter who is sylyviasays is attempting the makings of points which are not having very good senses. The wordings of the commenter who is sylyviasays are showing he is having many unhappies and impairings in the head like peoples who are having brains that are not being like whole brains.

High numbers of peoples having to do much digging in the silly words many peoples are having to be finding words that are having substance that is worth reading the words. The words the commenter who is sylyviasays is saying are words that are being words that make the time people are taking to be reading them a waste of time that is having much value for other things they could be doing.

I am hoping that the commenter who is sylyviasays can be taking all needed aspirins for the angries and unhappies which are living in his head.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 07:27 | 4307404 ebear
ebear's picture

this place gets more like usenet with each passing day.

Alt.ZeroHedge... LOL!

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:00 | 4306400 centerline
centerline's picture

Sure, I'll play along...

One good theory is deforestation attributed to rising populations and slash/burn farming.  Rising social complexity = frailness in many ways (just like today).  Drought, war, or any other sort of factor tips the balance.  A combination of factors yields a collapse (just like today).  Just takes a trigger event.

In terms of energy.  It is a factor.  Plain and simple.  Rising populations and especially developing nations like China and India are rapidly increasing demand.  All that matter is the metrics of supply and what economiescan handle in terms of EROEI.  Peak is an arbitrary point that I wager no one will know until it is past.

So, why don't you cough up some of that infinite knowledge you are touting but can't seem to put into words.  Seems like AKAK and I have been willing to talk and you have done nothing but make yourself look like someone who just wrote a check that can't be cashed.  lol.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:02 | 4306412 VD
VD's picture

shove your theories up you and akak's respecitve asses.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:08 | 4306424 akak
akak's picture

And now we see the sum total of your vast knowledge and intellectual capacity distilled into and displayed by one quintessential sentence.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:58 | 4306617 Imminent Crucible
Imminent Crucible's picture

Venereal Disease can't decide whether he's Anasazi or Ashkenazi.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 03:40 | 4306923 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

and imminent communist is in bed with the two peak oil trolls akak the azzhole and centerline the cunt

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 14:07 | 4308614 Imminent Crucible
Imminent Crucible's picture

Wrong on all counts, syphilus. You'll never find me in bed with akak because (a) the crazy fool keeps his bed in Alaska and (b) his boobs are even smaller than yours.

Centerline seems like a sensible dude but he's not my type either.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:09 | 4306428 centerline
centerline's picture

What theory do you feel is appropriate VD?

Something profound happened to the Mayans.

How about Easter Island?

Come on man, shine some of your brilliance on our ignorant souls.  

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:11 | 4306437 VD
VD's picture

there are many books and articles on it. i can't hold your hand...and even if i did it would be too much effort for me and the net gain for me would be a loss, assuming you'd be open enough to appreciate another perspective....

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 22:18 | 4306458 centerline
centerline's picture

Really?  In your infinite wisdom and knowledge on the subject, you can't pen a simple paragraph that hits the key points of what YOU think is a reasonable cause?

If I didn't want another perspective, I wouldn't be pounding on what appears to be brick wall here.  You haven't said shit this whole thread.  Just faux superiority which in my book equals retard.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 23:04 | 4306641 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

How many civilizations have arisen and fallen since settlements began - thousands, tens of thousands, who knows?

So you believe what you want about why they collapsed, and more than likely I'll believe something different, because there isn't any proof either way.

But I bet confirmation bias once again plays a significant role in each one's belief.

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 23:14 | 4306679 VD
VD's picture

precisely. that's why tenuous idiotic reaches extrapolated from unknown causes onto the peak oil theory are ridiculous, esp when there is never a time frame for this alleged peak...

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 23:55 | 4306823 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Most everyone thinks their beliefs are the only correct ones.

That's the reason for the sorry state of the world.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 05:51 | 4307351 edotabin
edotabin's picture

Let's keep this simple.  Assuming we can all agree that we are burning through oil far faster than it is being replaced we will eventually have a problem. Assuming that we can all agree that oil is stored on the planet earth, then we know that planet earth can only contain so much oil. It is finite. The question simply is: How long?

Do we progress and master other forms of energy production more quickly than we exhaust most of the oil or not?  Since having abundant energy will create decentralization, I find that much has been done to obfuscate the topic. We should be investing huge resources into discovering new sources instead of clinging to the past.



Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:06 | 4306716 centerline
centerline's picture

Confirmation bias is different than commonality in working theories.

Scientific process, by the way, involves working with hypothesis, theory, etc.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:42 | 4306926 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

blah blah from the centerline peak oil troll

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 00:53 | 4306942 akak
akak's picture

May you soon be as bored by your own vacuous and puerile posting history as I already am.


(I'll wait for you to go look up the words "vacuous" and "puerile" before expecting your next highly insightful and not-to-be-missed comment.)

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 01:49 | 4307058 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

May you soon be as bored by your own vacuous and puerile posting history as I already am. 

and may you go back to whoring tired old peak oil ass out at the holiday inn!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 01:49 | 4307059 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

May you soon be as bored by your own vacuous and puerile posting history as I already am. 

and may you go back to whoring tired old peak oil ass out at the holiday inn!

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 02:16 | 4307106 Rock On Roger
Rock On Roger's picture

I say troll.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:38 | 4307199 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

I say akak and centerline are know it all peak oil trolls and rock on roger is stack on ignorant goat 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:44 | 4307291 akak
akak's picture

Sylviasays says Sylviasays says too much.

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 05:41 | 4307348 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

Sylviasays shutup already about peak oil! 

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:04 | 4307513 drdolittle
drdolittle's picture

You're quite the douche. Somewhere in the 13-17 age range?

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 04:49 | 4307292 akak
akak's picture


Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!